Through Restoration

Photo by Margaret Sentman
After plummeting to a near-record low in 2007, blue crab populations in the Bay have nearly tripled thanks to restrictions on catching females. Photo by Margaret Sentman

Bringing Native Species Back from the Brink

In the four centuries since the explorations of Captain John Smith, the Chesapeake Bay has lost half of its forested shoreline, more than half its wetlands, nearly 80 percent of its underwater grasses, and more than 98 percent of its oysters. Across the watershed, approximately 1.7 million acres of once-untouched land were developed by 1950. Development has accelerated dramatically since then, with an additional 2.7 million acres built on or paved over between 1950 and 1980.

The human pressure of these changes has imposed heavy negative impacts on the health and resilience of the Bay. Although we will never return to the pristine territory explored by Captain John Smith during those early voyages, CBF is fighting to return this fragile ecosystem to balance.

For years, CBF has been a leader in restoration efforts that improve the capacity of rivers, streams, and the Bay to treat pollution. In programs across the watershed, many of them conducted with CBF volunteers and partner organizations, CBF is restoring native oysters, planting underwater grasses, and planting trees, to restore the Bay's natural filters.

Working With Farmers to Reduce Pollution

The evidence is clear: Reducing pollution on agricultural land is far and away the cheapest, most cost-effective pollution-reduction strategy. But for individuals tasked with getting the job done, the financial costs can present a challenge, even for those who really want to do the right thing.

CBF has helped scores of farmers find funding and implement conservation practices that have dramatically reduced pollution running off their land. CBF is working hard to remove the road-blocks and accelerate progress through restorations like the one on the Plouse family dairy farm.

Through The Maryland Grazers Network, dairy farmers like Myron Martin and Ron Holter are proving that sustainable farming can help increase profits. Developed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Clagett Farm, the network is a mentorship program that provides farmers with technical assistance and expertise in pasture and forage management, financial management, marketing, and funding.

CBF's Clagett Farm is a working farm where we practice economically and environmentally sustainable practices.

Find out more about the issues CBF is working on in your part of the watershed or volunteer for one of our restoration projects.

FY 2016 Restoration Accomplishments

PLANTED more than 46 million juvenile oysters in Virginia and Maryland—the most CBF has ever planted in a single year!

FINISHED, with partners, work on Harris Creek, a 350-acre oyster reef on Maryland's Eastern Shore that has been called the largest oyster-restoration project in the world.

PLANTED more than 17,000 trees across the watershed.

ENGAGED volunteers who donated a combined 25,921 hours of time toward CBF's watershed-wide restoration efforts. This labor is valued at more than half a million dollars.

COMPLETED a comprehensive restoration project in Southside Richmond, including a community garden, stream and creek restoration, and rain gardens. The project will eliminate hundreds of pounds of pollution each year to local waterways, the James River, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.

WORKED with 386 farmers and landowners to install conservation practices and reduce agricultural pollution.

RECYCLED 1,030 bushels of oyster shell through CBF's Save Oyster Shells program, which collects used shells for use in restoration projects.

You may also be interested in
  • S.O.S. - Save Oyster Shell Donate your empty shells to CBF so we can recycle them into more oyster reefs and repopulate the Bay with more oysters.
  • A New Day for Oysters Maryland's Harris Creek is host to one of the largest oyster restoration projects ever undertaken in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Stream Restoration Healthy rivers and streams provide vital habitat. CBF and our volunteers are working to keep Pennsylvania waterways healthy and restore those that are impaired.
  • Maryland Oyster Gardening Help restore oysters in Maryland. Start your own oyster garden.
  • Building a Future for the Chesapeake's Oysters Today, there are important new reasons for hope for the Chesapeake Bay's keystone species.
  • Lafayette River Restoration There's an active movement underway to restore this wonderful resource.
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Landowners in Pennsylvania can protect water quality in the rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay by making their streamside property or farmland more conservation-friendly with help from this program.
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